The Japan Times, January 4, 1997

Beijing dig bares 20,000-year history

BEIJING (AP) Archaeologists have found remains that show people lived 20,000 years ago where an office tower is going up in the heart of Beijing.
The remains were discovered on Dec. 28 at the construction site for the Oriental Plaza tower on the corner of the Avenue of Eternal Peace, the city's main east-west thoroughfare, and Wangfujing, the city's premier shopping street near Tiananmen Square, according to a short front-page story in the Beijing Evening News.
The site is where the world's largest McDonald's restaurant operted until last month. The 700-seat restaurant was torn down to make way for the $1.5 billion Oriental Plaza shopping, housing and office complex. McDonald's originally objected to losing its lease, but later settled on compensation.
The newspaper report said stone tools, charcoal and bones have been found 12 meters under the surface. The construction company is protecting the site so that archaeologists can excavate it to learn more about ancient life and the changing natural environment, it said.
The report said the site is one of the oldest ever found within the city limits and shows that primitive people in the area had left their caves in the mountains and were living on the plains.